How do time-strapped academics have fun?
They perform self-parodic close readings, that's how.
My latest foray into the growing genre of jestful metacriticism comes by way of the facebook page of my beloved colleague and love slave Lyra Plumer. You see, Lyra posted a picture of her adorable guinea pigs to her page. It was too adorable to allow it to pass without comment, but being immersed in dissertation madness, the only language I could muster up was the heavy-handedly theoretical and jargon-laden idiom that I love so well. See for yourself and join in the jest!
" The boundless cuteness of this duo is undoubtedly owed to the image's underlying narrative of racial harmony. Though the "rare comraderie" of beings of different hues is evident throughout 20th century visual culture (see Coolidge's anthropomorphized Dogs Playing Poker series, 1903), this image is unique in that its igloo transports the subjects outside of the contiguous United States (and therefore well beyond the self-indulgent gaze of American art history) and into the otherworldly domain of Canada's Central Arctic and Greenlands Thule areas, where most igloos were erected.
In selecting an emphatically plastic replica of indigenous workmanship as the domestic retreat for this unlikely pair, this image fuzes Jameson's and Baudrillard's notion of the simulacrum. The igloo is rendered both ahistorical AND hyperreal by its capacity to serve as a site where the ever-elusive goal of racial harmony might be actualized. "
More fun after I finish grading papers and final exams, I promise. Until then, will you meet me for dinner next Thursday?